Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 53

(CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT)
The spartan solidbody Vox
Violin Bass V-232. Eko's cousin,
the Vox V-250. "Upgraded" to a
hollowbody - the V-250, 1966.
The V-232 arrives, late '65.

pickguard, trapeze tailpiece, and
floating bridge, but keeping the
nifty control layout - with the price
lowered by $1.90! In '68, the final
version was named the V-273
Astro IV and gained the
giant paddle headstock
and pencil-thin neck
common to later Vox
basses, also mounting
the innovative active
electronics introduced
that year with onboard
fuzz and treble /bass
boost. A V-250 can be
spotted in Riot on Sunset
Strip in the hands of the
Chocolate Watchband and
the Enemies, likely a product
of the AIP/Vox product-placement
deal. Rolling Stone Bill Wyman tried
an Astro IV in '68, as seen in Rock and
Roll Circus.
Most American manufacturers stuck
to their own designs, even at the height
of Beatlemania. Not even CBS' trendhappy brass asked Fender to build a
violin bass. Chicago's Valco did, and
it was an oddity - solid-bodied with a
long-scale 34" neck and large Fenderstyle headstock. Most of the parts were
common with the Fender-like Supro
Taurus. Single- and double-pickup
(with the infamous Silver-Sound bridge
pickup) versions of this awkward, unbalanced, and rare creation brilliantly
called the Long Neck Bass were sold in
'66 under Montgomery Wards' Airline
brand. The violin body may have been
Ward's request...
The short-lived Coral line from
MCA/Danelectro offered a similarly
awkward "Fiddle Bass" - the Model
FB2B4 in '67/'68. This also fitted a
331/2"-scale neck instead of 30", otherwise it was undistinguished. With
a long scale and two Dano pickups,
it sounded better than average. Assembled in New Jersey, the hollow
body was sourced from Kawai in Japan.
Flimsy plywood, it was practically
identical to the bodies used for Japanese
instruments that sold for much less.

The 995's best moment may be with
Fleck in the Standells, pounding out
"Riot on Sunset Strip" in the movie of
that name. This gem of garage-band
cool inspired generations of revivalists
to covet the Eko even more than its
Höfner inspiration. More recently, it
has shown up in the arsenal of alt-bass
hero Les Claypool.
With all this action, Vox had to get
in on the act, but only the American/
Italian versions made by Eko! Though
happy to imitate Fender to an embarrassing degree, JMI ignored the Höfner,
perhaps satisfied with the Beatles
endorsing Vox amps! No matter, the
Thomas Organ/Eko collaboration
produced several Vox-branded violinbass variations. The '65/'66 V-232 was a
solidbody (or mostly solid anyway) that
sold for $300. The body had an arched
plywood top and an oddly spartan
look with two Vox pickups, a centermounted stoptail bridge, and three
knobs, cleverly incorporating a rotary
pickup selector. The bolt-on 30"-scale
neck ended in a compact version of
Vox's "spear" headstock. A year or so
on it was renamed the V-250, altered
to a more-conventional hollow design
(using Eko's 995 body!) with f holes, a

February 2018

53

VINTAGE GUITAR


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vintage Guitar - February 2018

Contents
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - Cover
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - IFC
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 3
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 4
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 5
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 6
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 7
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 8
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 9
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - Contents
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 11
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 12
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 13
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 14
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 15
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 16
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Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 40
Vintage Guitar - February 2018 - 41
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